Joe Nathan isn't exactly sure of his plans once his baseball career is over, but teammate Jason Bartlett has a suggestion after witnessing Nathan's recent foray into another field of work. "I think acting is in his future," Bartlett said. Nathan's acting ability and Bartlett's underwater skills are just two of the things that will be on display in the Twins' newest television commercials, set to begin airing Monday, Feb. 26.
In an ad entitled "Carpool," Nathan is the passenger in a car with Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, taking issue with Santana's driving style, which mimics his pitching. Changing speeds by stopping and accelerating quickly, Santana makes Nathan quite ill in the ad, and Nathan sold his performance to his teammates. "I think a lot of people could have done it, but I was the lucky one to pull that part of just having to look sick on TV," Nathan said with a laugh. "The only thing I was disappointed in is that they didn't put all of my sound effects in there. I guess they were worried people might have thrown up." The theme once again of this year's ad campaign designed by the Minneapolis-based marketing group Periscope is "This is Twins Territory." The highly acclaimed campaign originally launched in 2005 to rave reviews and has contributed to the team drawing more than two million fans in each of the last two seasons. The idea behind the commercials is to feature Twins players in humorous spots to give fans a taste of the players' personalities. The second ad, also being released this week, is titled "Little Piranhas," featuring Bartlett and Nick Punto. The spot is a play off the moniker given to some of the players for their tenacious play by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. In the commercial, Bartlett and Punto are seen swimming in a large water tank fully dressed in their uniforms as a little girl asks her dad innocently, "What are those?" For Bartlett, the shoot was a little more difficult than he had anticipated, as he Punto couldn't seem to get to the same spot in the tank. "Nick would go straight to the ground but for some reason I couldn't get down there," Bartlett said. "You can't see anything under there, so I'm scraping my hand on coral trying to get myself to sink and Nick's already waving to the camera. But overall, it was a lot of fun." Two other spots will be released in the coming weeks. They include "Magic Show," starring Twins outfielder and amateur magician Michael Cuddyer, who tries to "saw" teammate Johan Santana in half during a kids magic show with the help of his assistant, Juan Rincon. The final ad will feature catcher Mike Redmond along with AL MVP Justin Morneau and AL batting champ Joe Mauer as Redmond tries to live up to the popularity and success recently achieved by his teammates. Judging by the reactions of the players who have already seen the first two ads of the series, it seems they are bound to be a hit. "They try to make us look good on TV and that's not always an easy task, but they do a pretty good job of it," Nathan said. "They're pretty funny."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.